COLUMBUS – The Columbus Crew today announced that longtime Black & Gold legend Duncan Oughton is joining Toronto FC first-year Head Coach – and fellow New Zealand international – Ryan Nelsen’s coaching staff as an Assistant Coach. Per Major League Soccer and club policy, terms of the agreement were not disclosed. The search for Oughton’s replacement on the club and broadcast side with the Crew will begin immediately, with his final Crew broadcast taking place Saturday during the club’s home match against Colorado (FOX Sports Ohio / 7:30 p.m. ET).
“It is crazy when I look back at the last 12 years – more than one-third of my life – and remember all the great times and the thousands of amazing people I now call my friends in Columbus,” said Oughton. “I have the chance to work with an old friend and ex-New Zealand teammate who’s coaching career is just taking off and cannot pass up this opportunity. I would like to thank the Crew family, all my old teammates who battled alongside me as well as Crew Head Coach Robert Warzycha for giving me a chance and teaching me so much in my role since I started on his staff. I wish the best to the Crew: the team, the club and the great people of Columbus.”
Oughton began his third season as a member of the Crew’s front office in 2013. He retired from professional soccer after the 2010 campaign, following a stellar 10-year career in which he became the longest-serving player in Black & Gold history. Oughton served as the club’s Assistant Technical Director, in which he was involved in a number of team-related areas, along with his analyst duties for the Crew’s regional television broadcasts on FOX Sports Ohio.
“This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Duncan to work with a friend in Ryan Nelsen and to accelerate his coaching career,” said Crew President & General Manager Mark McCullers. “Duncan has worn a lot of hats for us both as a player and in the front office. It’s difficult to see him go, but as he and I have discussed, sometimes you have to leave the nest in order to return back home, and I expect to see Duncan back with the Crew someday – it’s where his heart is.”
“Duncan has been a major part of our club for more than a decade, and he’s been a wonderful teammate, colleague and friend,” said Crew Head Coach Robert Warzycha. “He will be missed in Columbus, and we all wish him the best of luck moving forward.”
Over the course of his storied career in Black & Gold, Oughton was a part of all five major trophies won by the club and became one of the most beloved figures in team history. Originally selected by Columbus in the first round of the 2001 MLS SuperDraft (10th overall), he spent his entire professional career wearing Black & Gold, appearing in 136 matches (10th in club history) and logging over 9,000 minutes, while scoring three goals and recording 13 assists. He also saw action in 14 U.S. Open Cup matches, tallying one goal and three assists.
From 2002 to 2009, Oughton earned 27 caps with New Zealand and played alongside new boss Ryan Nelsen, who claimed 49 caps for the All Whites from 1999-2012. Nelsen was officially named Toronto FC’s eighth Head Coach in club history on January 8, 2013. Oughton holds a “B” coaching license from the United States Soccer Federation.